If you are currently a college student, or if you ever shadowed one, you know that college requires a lot of reading, and most of that time that means hours trying to figure out what your Biology textbook is trying to tell you about plant life cycles, yuck. Even English majors, like myself, who have to read hundreds of pages a week but don’t have traditional textbooks still dread reading for class most of the time. No matter how interested you are in your major or the assigned reading, having to spend hours pouring over a book because your professor told you to is just not the same as wandering the aisles of your favorite bookstore and picking out your own reading material. Making time to read extra books outside of class can be a challenge, but if you add it to your schedule everyday you will see that you definitely do have the time.
There are certain times in the day that are just better for reading for class. When you are more awake and focused, you will be more likely to remember and analyze what you have read.
Directly after class
After class you may be tired, but you are likely most engaged with the material after you have just listened to a lecture. Reading now when you are in the mindset of that specific class will help give context to the material that you are reading. If you wait until the night before you go to that class again you will find yourself straining to remember what was covered in the last class and why what you have to read for the next day matters. Schedule just 20 minutes of reading time after your class and get through all, or a decent amount of, what needs to be covered for the next day.
Sit at a desk with a notebook and a pen
Reading through the pages and pages of text for class is half the battle, but remembering it? That’s key. To make sure you are not only engaged with the text, but also absorbing the information keep a notebook and pen next to you so you can quickly write down information that seems important. If you bring that paper to class next time you can avoid feeling like you have already forgotten what you needed to know. Even better if your professor quizzes you on the material, or asks questions about the reading you will be prepared with a quick reference sheet.
While it may seem like a great idea to leave your class readings for right before bed (or instead of sleep), or the morning that you have class; these are actually great times to read for fun.
Read in the morning before class
If you start the day with a good book that is totally unrelated to your schoolwork, you will have an easier time getting through the rest of the day. It’s easy to get too caught up in your schoolwork and class, and start to feel like your entire life is just going to school, but think about how much time you really spend in class. If you’re taking fifteen credits a semester, you are only in class for that limited amount of time. Despite all of the work and readings that you have to complete outside that time, you still have a lot of free time that you can use however you choose to.
During your lunch break
If your schedule doesn’t line up with any of your friends, or you are exhausted from the morning, you may just wind up eating lunch alone a few days a week. Rather than fill this time with a nap, or another episode of Gilmore Girls on Netflix, read a few more pages in your book.
Read at night
Instead of sleeping in every morning before class, or watching Netflix while you eat, grab a book and read for twenty minutes. This is the perfect chance to escape school and unwind a bit before you spend the rest of the day in class.
Likewise, reading after you finish your assignments just before you go to bed gives you another chance to clear your mind of all the stress associated with papers, class, and roommate problems. Adding additional reading to your schedule may seem completely impossible, but really it’s totally doable and definitely worth it.